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Competition Rules

Minesweepers is a national competition for humanitarian demining. Each participating team (Max. 10 members) will construct a teleoperated or an autonomous robot that should be able to search for underground anti-personnel mines and produce a map of the detected mines. The robot has to able to navigate through rough environment that mimics a real minefield.

1. Minefield

The competition arena will be an open desert area with dimensions 20x20 meters. The field will be surrounded by a wall with 50 cm height. The landmine contaminated zones in the arena start 50 cm from each the boarders. Most of the arena will be sandy soils or rocky with obstacles, some steep inclines, ditches and culverts that can be difficult to negotiate by the robots.

2.  The Mines

Two different kinds of artificial mines are used in this competition:

  • Buried Mines: These mines are made from metallic cubes, with approximate dimensions of 10x10x10 (LxWxD). These mines are completely buried underground with maximum depth 10 cm. These buried metallic cubes mimic real anti-personnel (AP) blast mines. Real AP blast mines are deliberately designed to be small (typically 6-14 cm in diameter): this makes them cheaper and easier to store, carry and deploy. AP blast mines rely on the effect of explosive blast to damage the victim, and are designed to detonate when the victim steps on them. These mines are often buried in order to camouflage their presence.
  • Surface Mines: These mines are made from metallic cubes, with approximate dimensions of 10x10x10 (LxWxD) and labeled in black color.  These mines are visible and are located on the surface of the competition area. Any contact with them will be penalized. These black metallic cubes are used to simulate aboveground mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs). Unexploded Ordnance is a piece of explosive ordnance or ammunition that has failed to function as intended. Although they have failed to function as intended, UXO can sometimes require only the slightest disturbance to detonate. UXOs vary greatly in size from hand grenades the size of an apple to large aircraft bombs.

Some landmines will be organized in a pattern for easier removal and accountability and others will be scattered randomly. Locations of each landmine will be known for the jury committee.

3.  The Robots

Each team must use a teleoperated or an autonomous robot per game. The robot has to be made by team members. Teleoperated robot must be operated remotely from a base station located outside the minefield. Wireless controller based on ZigBee for example would be recommended to communicate the base station with the robot due to the large size of the field. In case of autonomous robots, all the actions of the robot must be completely autonomous without human intervention. Autonomous robot will be rewarded a 40% bonus over teleoperated robots. Careful attention must be paid to the robot locomotion systems as the roughness of the terrain is very high. Robots can be wheeled, legged or hybrid. Wheeled robots include but are not limited to differential drive, tricycle drive, Ackerman steering, synchro drive, omnidirectional drive, Multi-Degree-of-Freedom (MDOF) vehicles, MDOF vehicle with compliant linkage or tracked vehicles. Legged robot can be uniped, biped, tripod, pentapod, quadruped or hexapod robot. Robot can also be an unmanned aerial vehicle or a quad-rotor. Robot can be actuated using electric, pneumatic or hydraulic actuation system, Diesel/Petrol engine or using solar energy.

4.  Sensors

Each team can select their own set of sensors for localization of mines. Although teams can install cameras on robot or install them on the sides of the field, no camera or sensors is allowed to hangover the competition area.

5.  Mine Detection

When a robot detects a mine, it has to autonomously report this event using a light blinking signal and a warning siren for at least 2 seconds. Teams have to correctly position the alarm device on their robot.

6.  Mine Map

Each deminer robot has to provide map of the detected mines when its competition time slot finishes. The map represents a 19x19 meter area divided to 100x100 cm squares based on the common reference frame of the arena. The X coordinate of the map is shown by letters A to S and the Y coordinate of the map consists of numbers 1 to 19. So a position (x,y) where the mine is detected has to be reported for example by B2. This map can be simply a text file or text shown on the display of the robot. The sequence of the positions has to be the same as the detected mines. This mine map can be represented graphically or using vector format as shown in Fig. 1 and 2 respectively.

Fig. 1 Graphical Representation of the Mine Map [Black: buried mine, Gray: Surface Mine]

Fig. 2 Vector Representation of the Mine Map

7.  Procedure

Each robot starts the game from a different randomly selected location marked in the map such as A1 (Fig. 1). Team members will bring the teleoperated or the autonomous robot to this location. Then robot has to search the field to find buried mines or the mines scattered on surface. When the robot detects any kinds of mine it should register the location of the mine in the map and produce a light signal and siren and also report the mine location to update the mine map. All the detected mines will be removed from the field before a new team enters the arena.
Robot has to able to navigate through rough environment of the minefield and avoid obstacles. Robots must avoid surface mines else the team will be penalized.
During competitions only one of team members can attend the field. He/she can request a “Reset Time” which means he/she can stop the game and take out robot for repair or adjustment. The time spends for this repair will be included within the competition time and there would be a penalty for each resent time. The competition time allowed for each team is 15 minutes. Jury committee will calculate the team's score and prepare the field for the next team during another 15 minutes.

The competition will end with one of the following conditions:

  • The dedicated time finishes,
  • Team dismiss the game,
  • Any cheating happens,
  • Robot touches a surface mine.

8.  Scoring

General rules for scoring are as following. But the exact scores will be decided during the competition.

  • 100 Positive score for detecting every buried metallic mine,
  • 50 Positive score for detecting every surface metallic mine,
  • 300 Positive score for complete surf of field if 80% of mines are detected correctly,
  • 50 Negative score for wrong detection,
  • 100 Negative score for passing over a buried mine without detecting it,
  • 50 Negative score for touching a surface mine. Game terminates.
  • 30 Negative score failure in producing a light signal and/or a siren for a detected mine,
  • Maximum duration of every “Reset Time” is 20% of the allowed time. Every “Reset Time” will reduce 10% of the subsequent scores (they will be multiplied by 0.9 for first reset, 0.8 for second and so on).
  • Autonomous robot’s total score will be multiplied by 1.4.

Table 1 shows a sample for scoring sheet.

Table 1 Scoring Sheet

9.  General Rules

  • The organizers reserve the right to introduce any change in the regulations, whenever they consider it necessary for the development of the competition. The decisions of the judges will always be inappealable.
  • The organizers have the right to photograph and videotape the event and the right to reproduce, modify and use the photographs and video tapes for various media.
  • Before starting time, all participating robots must be ready. If a robot has not been ready just in time, this robot will be eliminated. Once the competition started, no new robots are permitted to participate. Once the competition started, no modifications in the participating robot will be allowed. When the turn of participation of each robot comes, only one representative of the team must take charge of starting it by just pressing a push-button switch. No team members are allowed to enter the minefield with the robot. Making any modification or changing the state of the robot's deep switches is not allowed unless a “Reset Time” is requested. Five minutes before the beginning of every round, the participants will have a limited time (according to a pre-established order), to perform last minute tweaks of their robots and to fit their robot's sensors to the lighting and the material of the arena.
  • Training sessions can be carried out before the competition day. According to schedule determined by organizers and announced to the participating teams, the teams will be able to test, adjust and refine their robots during the time slot assigned for each team. 
  • Classification round: All the ready robots will participate in order established by gambling. The team with highest number of accumulated points will win. In case of equality in number of points, the robot that finished the course in minor time will win. The best teams will be classified for the eliminatory round. If insufficient number teams have finished the classification round, the judge committee can select some of the unclassified teams to participate in the final round.
  • Final Round: The classified team will have to realize a final course, being winning the best classified one according to the same guidelines. If a team or several teams don't finish the course, the judge committee must decide the order of the final classification, based on different arguments such as:
    • Minimum time of finishing the course in this rounds,
    • Minimum number of wrong detections
    • Being the unique team that keeps operating,
    • ....

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